Paper Type

Doctoral Dissertation


College of Education and Human Services

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership (EdD)



NACO controlled Corporate Body

University of North Florida. Department of Leadership, School Counseling & Sports Management

First Advisor

Dr.Christopher Janson

Second Advisor

Dr. David Hoppey

Rights Statement


Third Advisor

Dr. Mark Dawkins

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Sophie Filibert

Department Chair

Dr. Elizabeth Gregg

College Dean

Dr. John Kantner


This Q methodology study focused on those intrinsic attributes that successful African American men who had adverse childhood experiences attributed to their success. Using the purposeful and snowball sampling recruitment process, forty-two successful African American men participated in this research project. Five distinct factors were identified and labeled as, Factor 1: The Godly Working Men, Factor 2: The Competitive Men, Factor 3: The Charismatic Men, Factor 4: The Expectation Driven Men, and Factor 5: The Proud African American Men.

The main findings were that respectful African American boys who are taught to understand who they are spiritually, be proud of their racial history, have a sound sense of purpose, and a desire to work hard are tooled to become successful African American men. The findings in this study support the wealth of research regarding strength-based youth development approaches, such as the Positive Youth Development’s 40 Developmental Assets framework. The six top intrinsic attributes that the participants in this research project ranked as most contributing to their success were 1) faith and trust in God, 2) desire to learn and understand how to apply the word of God to their life, 3) being respectful of others, 4) having a sense of purpose and value for life, 5) pride in racial identity and history, and 6) the ability to work hard and do their best. However, the intrinsic attributes relating to spirituality and pride in racial identity and history are not explicitly identified within the internal assets of the Positive Youth Development’s 40 Developmental Assets framework. For this framework to be meaningful for African Americans, the pride in racial identity and history attribute should be added to the positive identity group and a new group should be included to account for the two spirituality attributes.

This study provided evidence that African American men from adverse backgrounds have voices and want to share their experiences to help other young people overcome and be successful. It is highly recommended that additional study be conducted on the impacts that extrinsic and intrinsic attribute have to the success of African American men.